The GBP AUD exchange rate was 0.17% despite pressure on retail sales in the UK. The cost-of-living squeeze was taking its toll on UK households with “crushed consumer confidence,” according to the latest BRC retail monitor. However, the Chancellor helped the pound with hints of tax cuts.
The GBP to AUD trades at 1.7626 with the pound sterling looking for support at the April lows near the 1.7700 level.
Independents looking to upset the Australian political setup
The Australian election could hand more power to independent candidates as the government lags in the polls.
In seats held by the governing Liberal-National coalition, the so-called teal independents are mounting a serious challenge that focuses on climate, integrity in politics and gender representation. They’re bankrolled by the Melbourne philanthropist Simon Holmes à Court, alongside other smaller donors.
The highest-profile politician at risk is the treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who was seen as potential successor to Scott Morrison as PM.
“If it is a very close election, they may hold the balance of power. If the government loses, it will be mainly their seats that will be lost to independents,” explained Antony Green, election analyst at ABC.
“The government is arguing these independents mustn’t get elected because of the uncertainty it would create in the creation of the next government.”
For years, more Australians have been turning away from the two major parties; the centre-right coalition of the Liberal and Nationals, who traditionally represent country areas, and the left-of-centre opposition Labor Party.
Dr Stewart Jackson of the University of Sydney said:
“The Liberal Party has been moving steadily to the right under first [Tony] Abbott and then Morrison and the people who would otherwise have called themselves moderates or centrists have been, if not pushed out of the party, certainly marginalised in many of the states”.
“It mirrors what has been happening in a number of other countries where there has been a move from particularly evangelical Christians, but also the deeply conservative right, to take control of the major party of the right,” he said.
The Australian dollar could get hurt if there is a delay in forming a new government.
UK retail sales disappoint but Chancellor may help with tax cuts
For the month of April, retail sales in the UK slipped 0.3% year on year compared with a 51% increase back in April 2021, when ‘non-essential’ retail reopened, according to the latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.
However, the Chancellor helped the pound sterling by hinting at plans to “reduce the tax burden” and said the government “can do more” to help households with a cost-of-living crisis.
Markets are set to react to the Queen’s speech read out by Prince Charles, where the government has 38 bills set to be put into law over the next year.
The Prime Minister will also tell MPs in a Commons debate that creating “high-wage, high-skilled jobs” is the best way to solve the cost-of-living crisis, saying: “That is the long-term, sustainable solution to ease the burden on families and businesses.”
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